Saturday, March 29, 2014

Springtime Walk Through the Woods

I ignored the 60% chance of rain forecast and got out today for some natural remedies for my stresses and other ailments that only a walk in the woods can cure. Mild temps with winds that got stronger as the day progressed.

I felt rain twice, with the second round almost enough to pull out my rain parka. I walked just under 5 miles.

A beautiful day to get out, with ever changing skies and plenty of scenery to soak in and enjoy. This is a good time of year to explore Big Haynes Creek in Conyers, Georgia. The trees are still mostly bare of summer leaves so you can see a lot of detail, and wildflowers are starting to color the world.
Muddy footprint. Not sure what this was

Reflections of a changing sky


Break time

Springtime colors growing on the rock outcrops

Fungus growing on a fallen tree

First round of spring wildflowers

Water was a bit high today after yesterday's rain

Hugging the lake

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Class of 2014

My two girls are both graduating high school this year. I took them out this past Saturday for the first of several photo sessions. It's hard to believe they've grown up so fast. Maggie & Marissa.The future's so bright....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Undisturbed Beauty

Sitting on a large rock at water’s edge I relaxed to the sound of the Little Pigeon River, tumbling down a small cascade forty yards in front of me and then dispersing into deep pockets. Aqua green and darker shades intermingled, distinguished by the water pocket’s depth and proximity to the rapids. After a six mile hike I had settled down to relax among the roar of water that is both pleasant to the senses and loud enough to drown out footsteps and sometimes voices. I tuned in to the river.

The beauty is always here, mostly undisturbed, waiting to be discovered. During nighttime hours when the day hike guests are gone it still flows, serenading a different set of admirers among the wildlife. I have to wonder if the loud screams of night crawlers and other creatures of the night manage to be heard among such an all-encompassing sound that fills in all the quiet places and mental gaps of nature’s other musicians, along with soothing life’s weights.

The river is content if no one ever notices because she is living by design. No regrets, and she’s okay with going it alone if need be.

River rocks are smooth from a lifetime of being sculpted, one cascade of flowing water at a time, into their current form. You know it’s a river rock. Take them out of the water and with a quick glance, or perhaps a touch, you can tell because the look takes time and dedication to create. Colors and shapes may differ, but they’re all beautiful and a crafted work of art. Like people. Gentle touches and inspiration, added day in and day out, shows on a person after a while.

Reflections on the water’s surface float overhead and paint an image below on those resting underneath the surface, catching their breath. Like a gentle hand covering and protecting. It’s a gentle reminder of where you came from, the beauty it extends, and how we fit into a master plan. The scene would be missing a piece of the puzzle without any one of us. 

Short Visit

A small, blue butterfly landed on my right arm, sitting on my shirt sleeve. I expected it to take flight, but I went into still mode and watched it move about, turning in random patterns, six inches from my face. It explored for a good five minutes, feeling its way along and then stepping down onto my arm.

I have photographed many butterflies, but I have never captured quite the detail I saw from such a close distance. Our eyes are marvelous devices, and they can see a full range of bright areas and dark shadows. The butterfly turned about, exposing its wings the sun’s side lighting, which brought out texture.  Light blue and gray wings, bathed with side lit sunshine, reminded me of an old style pressed tin roof, with narrow ridges carved out and filled in with the darkness of shadows. Spontaneous splotches of black paint dotted the wings, along with pressed, round stamps along wing’s edges, just below soft strands of silky white hair than shown out in the midday sun on a gorgeous 74 degree day.

After a time I slowly pulled a point and shoot camera out of my left shirt pocket, hoping to capture my new friend on my arm. Holding the camera and ready to take the image, I watched the butterfly lift off and then settle on my left hand, inches from the camera. I think it knew.

Sometimes it’s good to soak it all into memory, where good thoughts can help carry you through less peaceful times.

I don’t often take time from my busy schedule to visit with a butterfly. It won’t be around long; we need to learn lessons from it while we can. Same with people.

I never got an image of the butterfly. But after I sat on the rock overlooking Little Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains for an hour, watching the beauty of nature with a soundtrack of rushing water, I realized this was why I came out today. Never thought about stresses in my life, and I actually forgot about everything other than what I was immersed in, at least for a time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


My daughters wanted off work for spring break next week, and both were told they had to be at work Friday and Saturday of their week off from school. First thoughts are why should a minimum wage job, and barely part time at that, get in the way of a week together during their final year of high school? But this is where responsibility begins. If you can’t be counted on when the stakes are low you just might set a pattern that will hold you back further down the road. They both committed to weekend hours so they could take care of school work on weekdays, and now is the time to follow up on their agreement.
Responsibility increases as we grow older and more mature, at least that’s the best laid-out plan. It makes or breaks us. For their current job my daughters show up and have someone tell them what to do, but even at their age they’re picking up the fact that their ideas can make things better, albeit within a very narrow avenue outside of the strict rules set in front of them. That’s the first step to having a life that isn’t full of setbacks and failures that outweigh the successes.
We can’t stay at the starting post. Standing in the gate all the horses are equal, but that changes quickly. Sitting around and waiting to be told what to do will push you out the door before long. Make yourself valuable to your employer or customers and you’ll stand a much better chance of enduring slow times and staying employed. We aren’t supposed to stay where we begin. Be prepared for bigger failures when you step out, but also glow in the possibility of rich rewards that are a distant thought for many. And with something to dream about and actually seeing the possibilities….that makes life more palatable.